Hawaii Supreme Court takes up Koa Ridge dispute

Castle & Cooke's Koa Ridge development
Rendering of Castle and Cooke's Koa Ridge development

More dispute over an already controversial housing project in Central Oahu.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court of Hawaii took up Koa Ridge, a Castle and Cooke development that’s been in the works for more than 15 years.

In 2012, the State Land Use Commission reclassified approximately 769 acres of land for residential development.

Opponents appealed it, but the approval was upheld by the lower courts, so now it’s being taken up at the Supreme Court.

“Unless substantial policy changes are made and direction provided by the Hawaii Supreme Court, the decisions of the Land Use Commission, which was explicitly set up to protect (agricultural) lands, but by any reasonable measurement has done just the opposite,” said opponent and former state senator Clayton Hee.

“So the (agriculture) issue is important to us but also housing is too,” said Bruce Barrett, Castle and Cooke executive vice president for residential operations. “We think we’ve done more than balance. We think we’re preserving (agriculture) for the future as well as providing housing for which is much needed.”

Koa Ridge plans to build 3,500 residential units between Waipio and Mililani.

Groundbreaking was slated for this year.

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